92Y Instructor Biography

Mari DiLena

Mari Di Lena began her professional career while on scholarship at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, studying with Margaret Craske and Alfredo Corvino. As a child she was a member of the Met's Children's Chorus and danced leading roles in the children ballets produced by The Little Orchestra Society. At 17 she became principal dancer with the future Maryland Ballet Company. She also danced with Manhattan Festival, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and was a principal with Ballet Guatemala and the Dortmunder Ballet. After a long career as a dramatic and classical ballet dancer she joined Pina Bausch’s Wuppertal Tanztheater where she was also responsible for giving ballet classes. After leaving the company she opened her own ballet school which she directed for 20 years. She taught extensively at the Folkwang Hochschule and taught company ballet classes for the Daniel Goldin Dance Theater in Muenster for many years. Keeping close contact with the Bausch company, she was thrilled when her former teacher and mentor Alfredo Corvino became their Ballet Master and took company class whenever he was in town. Since returning to the States in 2008 she has given Master Classes at different Universities and schools in the New York area, choreographed for the Harkness Dance Center, gave class often for the Jose Limon Company, gave Bausch workshops at Sarah Lawrence, Juilliard and 92Y, was on the panel at Barnard/Columbia 2013 discussing the different Rites of Spring and contributed to the educational film Understanding Pina, by Kathryn Sullivan. In 2013 she joined two other former members of the Wuppertal Tanz Theater to reconstruct Wind von West, a Bausch piece that hadn't been danced since 1979. It was through her initiative that it became an international undertaking between Juilliard and the Folkwang Tanz Studio and premiered at the Pina Bausch 40 Year Jubilaum Festival in Germany and the New Dances Concert at Juilliard this past December. Mari is currently on the faculty of 92Y Harkness Dance Center and the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance in Connecticut.